Thursday, December 15, 2005

MICROSOFT AND GOOGLE COME TO THE MUSIC WORLD

There'd not been much time for MTV and Microsoft to back in the glow of its latest link-up before Google waved and took all the attention away (the international broadcaster and would-be IT monopolist have linked up more times than a sausage maker on a piece-rate bonus, most recently to try and create a buzz around the XBox360, which we understand is one of those machines you link to your television to play Pong on).

Microsoft has already attempted to launch a music download service once, through its MSN brand, but nobody seemed to want to buy music from them much. So now, they've forged a partnership with the MTV channels to create the dreadfully-named URGE service. This is supposed to be different because... well, it's a partnership with MTV, innit? However, it's not clear what the link-up is meant to be delivering that isn't already there - there's a muttering about how it gives Microsoft access to loads of MTV programming to offer music from, but on its main networks, these days MTV and VH1 are about putting gold blocks on your cars or remembering the theme tune to 1980s sitcoms. Sure, there's limited stuff from the Music Awards which might be download-worthy, and MTV2 still films live gigs, but it's hard to see that this is going to make people decide to ditch their iPods and buy a "plays for sure" machine.

Meanwhile, MTV hooking up with Microsoft shows just how little MTV cares for its core brand these days - it's like them cutting a deal with the Daily Telegraph or getting David Cameron in to link on MTV Dance.

Google, meanwhile, has launched a music search service - for example, here's Elastica on the new serivce. It's a little bit of a Farraday baby at the moment, in that it's not entirely clear what the value of the service is (we guess it does at least offer the prospect of making it easier to find stuff on bands with humdrum names, and you can pull up discographies a lot more easily than on other sites) but right now, it's not trying to push yet-another-download service onto the market, and for that we should at least say "ta".